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How do I judge a chin rest?
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Cleverpun
Griffith, IN
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January 22, 2017 - 2:20 pm
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I think a chin rest would be a good upgrade for my inexpensive violin, but I have no idea what makes them different. There are so many brands to choose from, and the pictures are similar. I don't even know what I'm really looking for, except "better", which is very vague.

I can say, I've tried a few shoulder rests and they don't seem to be the answer. A shoulder rest brings the violin up too high, and my bowing suffers. 

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MACJR
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January 22, 2017 - 4:04 pm
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I too am hoping to find a better fitting chin rest to my needs. I am not fond of the type that comes on the Cecilio CVN-500 and CEVN-1BK. They will do until I find something better though. Buying a new chin rest has not been high enough priority yet, but I have been looking around and considering the options.

Since I have not tried any of the alternatives (in recent memory), I cannot make any recommendations at this time. It was too long ago when I used a different style chin rest, and I am not sure what type that one was, not exactly, anyway. Just that it was not the same as the ones I have now, and I do not remember it being so uncomfortable... but that was 42 or more years ago.

I will try a side mounted chin rest next though. Not one that mounts from the center, over the endpin.

MACJR

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joejitsumd
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January 23, 2017 - 4:35 am
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From my recent experiences...

Most new violins seem to be made and shipped with a Guarneri style chin rest.  I believe this is an older style and is used still as convention of a standard rather than what most people want.  The style of the chinrest makes it decent when the violin is played without a shoulder rest because the violin sits lower on your shoulder.  When you use a shoulder rest it lifts the violin and the ridge of the chin rest can grind into your jaw (it does mine).  To solve this I bought 4 different chin tests recently:

wittner composite sidemount 

wittner composite center mount

Neewer hardwood sidemount

generic 400p ebonite ribbed sidemount

Of the four I immediately sent back the two non wittner chinrests as they were uncomfortable in their own ways and no improvement.   Both of the Wittner chin rests are miles above the standard Guarneri chin rest in terms of comfort. The only decision to make his side vs center mount.  I have tried them both and so far I like the side mount chin rest more because it seems like I have to be in a slightly unnatural position for the center mount chinrest.

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MrYikes
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January 23, 2017 - 6:56 am
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Finding the correct chin rest is a journey.  Mine started with the Guarneri (which I felt tilted the violin too much), then I used none, putting my chin on the right side of the tail (which made working on the G string more difficult), so I came back to the center mount ( which levels the violin).  Then I had to work on the height.  I have them now very low.  I had been using FMs sponge as a shoulder rest, but recently put a regular sr back on and it feels very secure.

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Cleverpun
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January 23, 2017 - 9:49 pm
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You know, I have been thinking center mount, because that seems where I want to put the violin naturally. I've also been looking at the wittner. I guess I found my starting point.

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damfino
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January 24, 2017 - 8:58 am
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What my teacher suggested was going to a shop where I could just try on several different chin rests to find the one that is just right.  I keep meaning to do this (violin shops are on the wrong side of town from where I normally go) but haven't had a chance yet. I like the idea, since what fits one person won't fit another the same. Kind of like trying on shoes... which I actually hate shoe shopping, so maybe I really don't like the idea, but just would like to finally have the one that works for me, haha.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 24, 2017 - 1:17 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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A great fitting chin-rest can actually make a huge difference.

Consider the following option if you have the space for it and don't want to get a different chin-rest. Even if you get a better chinrest, this option is great for comfort.
The Impressionist. You simply place it in hot water to soften it up, place it on top of your current chinrest, make an impression while it's soft and allow to cool for 15 minutes. It can be reshaped over and over in case you want to change something later.

It's always advantageous to get a good grip on your instrument so that you don't have to squeeze. You need to be able to hold your instrument with a relaxed grip.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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MACJR
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January 24, 2017 - 2:00 pm
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I am wondering how well that Impressionist would work on a chin of a man with a full beard?  😉

A softer chin rest, molded to my chin sounds nice, but I really do not want added height. I do not need or use a should rest, and a higher chin rest might not be ideal for me either.

And @Cleverpun, a center mount chin rest has your chin located at about the same area of the violin as a chin rest that is mounted just to one side of center.

There are chin rests that mount at the center, and that do place your chin at the center though. That seem like a highly awkward place to put you chin rest, but MrYikes likes it there.

MACJR

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Fiddlerman
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January 24, 2017 - 3:45 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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MACJR, I think it will. It will shape itself after the pressure points.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Charles
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January 26, 2017 - 9:57 am
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The closest I've come to finding one that works is a Flesch style (mounted over the tailpiece) and I actually put my chin in it, not my cheek like you do with a Guarneri.

I can't tilt my head over to hold the violin in place even with nothing there - it's too tall. I have a very short neck, and it digs into my jaw near the back of it.

I've found one problem with that, though. It does little or nothing to hold violin back against my shoulder, so it wants to slide forward. Since I already have to have it further forward than is ideal (I can't turn my head more than about 45 degrees), it wants to slide off the top part of my chest.

A shoulder rest will help some, but what I'd really like to have is a Flesch style that was tilted, instead of being parallel to the violin top.  I've never seen one like that, though.

Another nice gadget would be a shoulder rest (as opposed to the chest rest that everybody calls a shoulder rest. Something that hooked over my shoulder, and attached to the violin in some way so that it wouldn't slide forward.

I've got one of those Impressionist pads. I'm going to try it someday if I can ever figure out what I want it to do. The Flesch style is comfortable enough, but it doesn't give me any grip. (The full beard doesn't help that issue at all.)

This article was an interesting read on the subject: http://www.violinistinbalance......index.html

They took a bunch of people, set up rules about ergonomics, good posture, etc, and then helped them experiment to find what combination of chinrests and/or shoulder rests worked for them. They had access to machinists, as well as a wide assortment of things like foam padding, and what they came up with was wildly different. (It had to be to meet the requirements of good posture and ergonomics.)

They talk like they're eventually going to come out with a line of stuff that's much more adjustable than most, but I haven't heard anything more about that side of it.

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MACJR
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January 26, 2017 - 10:59 am
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Charles said
The closest I've come to finding one that works is a Flesch style (mounted over the tailpiece) and I actually put my chin in it, not my cheek like you do with a Guarneri.

I can't tilt my head over to hold the violin in place even with nothing there - it's too tall. I have a very short neck, and it digs into my jaw near the back of it.

I've found one problem with that, though. It does little or nothing to hold violin back against my shoulder, so it wants to slide forward. ....

.... (The full beard doesn't help that issue at all.)

Your neck my be shorter than mine, from what you say here, but my neck is not overly long either. The Guarneri chin rest is not comfortable to me, and it does dig into my upper jaw near the back, and although I can get a secure hold on the violin, it is not easy, and it often feels like it is about ready to slide out of my grip if I am not careful.

I am pretty sure that my having a full beard does not help, at all, with the grip issue.  😉

Now that I am getting used to playing a solid body electric violin, I am finding it easier to hold the acoustic violin though. The acoustic is so light in comparison, that switching to it after playing the EV is a pleasure.

I am still researching chin rests to see what type I want to try next. I will look into the Flesch style as well.

If my current plans hold up, I plan to buy a cheap violin next week that has one of those side mount chin rests on it. One that looks similar, but not the same, to the one I had on that school violin when I was a kid. As a kid, I did not have a full beard though, so even if the fit is better, I do not know if the grip will be any better.

The idea for the cheap violin is to use it to try out stuff, like alternate chin rests, and to teach myself more advanced luthier skills on it, the kind of things that I would not want to do on my main acoustic violin until I am sure that I can do them. For example, I want to fix the nut on my acoustic violin. Cecilio spaced the grooves very noticeably wrong, but since that is currently my best violin, I do not want to fix that until I know that I can do that job properly. Fixing a nut is a bit more involved than fixing a bridge arc.

MACJR

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Charles
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January 26, 2017 - 11:54 am
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Yeah, fixing a nut isn't the simplest project one can do on a violin.

I forgot to mention one thing on the Flesch chinrest (at least as I use it). With the Guarneri, your head is laid to one side, but your face still points mostly in the same direction.

For the Flesch, I turn my had 30-45 degrees to the left (as far over as is comfortable, but no more) and then drop my head down into the chinrest. It's a short drop - about as much as the width of my forefinger.  I find that I have to have the endpin-to-scroll line about 15-20 degrees further forward than I did using no chinrest at all.   It makes bowing easier, and some fingering (especially the G string) harder.

Another issue is that the left-to-right tilt is considerably less. It's not completely horizontal, but it's nowhere near the 45 degrees or so I might have with no chin rest (maybe 15ish degrees?). 

When writing this, I experimented. I can get a more normal degree of tilt (again, speaking of left-to-right - roll, in airplane terms) by cocking my head to the side as well as down, but it's a little strained. I may play with the idea a bit to see if it's something that my neck can adjust to, because it helps with the tendency to fall forward, also. Going to have to go at it cautiously, though. I can feel tension there from just a few seconds of it.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 26, 2017 - 2:28 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 12215

As far as the beard grip thing is concerned, I would definitely consider the gelrest. It keeps the instrument from slipping off of your jaw. It's a great feeling for non bearded guys like myself and I'm guessing it's great for you as well. Nothing will keep your facial hair from moving around though. LOL

http://fiddlershop.com/gelrest.....ution.html

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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MACJR
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January 26, 2017 - 2:47 pm
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I may consider a gelrest at some point.

As for the beard, up until the last couple of years, I kept a much more trimmed and short beard. It was more practical, but a lot of work to maintain.

I just got tired of messing with it, so let it grow out. I have found that a full beard helps a lot dealing with cold Pacific Northwest winter days though, it is like having a thick warm scarf wrapped around my face all the time.

But, a full beard is less than desirable for playing the violin, but it can be done. Fine tuners are not a bearded man's friend though.  😉

MACJR

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Charles
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January 26, 2017 - 8:04 pm
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Does the gelrest come in any other forms than Guarneri-like?  I can't use anything that involves laying my head to the side. The bare violin is too tall and digs into my jaw, so putting anything on top of it is out of the question.

If it comes in a Flesch style (or is configurable for that), I might give it a try.

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damfino
oHIo, USA
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January 27, 2017 - 9:31 am
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I looked them up to see what other shapes they might come in, and they have a fit guide for their available shapes on their website, but fiddlershop's listing has a list of all the chinrest styles you can order 🙂 

They look like something I'd like to try. 

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 30, 2017 - 11:17 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 12215

Charles said
Does the gelrest come in any other forms than Guarneri-like?  I can't use anything that involves laying my head to the side. The bare violin is too tall and digs into my jaw, so putting anything on top of it is out of the question.

If it comes in a Flesch style (or is configurable for that), I might give it a try.  

3 colors and 7 styles. One special style being added for me. 🙂
Stephen designed the Stuber for me and we will be unique to sell it, for now anyway.

We have all styles in all colors. I'll be making a video to promote them soon.

As Mandy mentioned, THIS fitting and cutting PDF guide is available for download.

Gelrest-Screen-Shot.jpgImage Enlarger

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